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EXME 10 / 09.02
Midday Express of 2010-02-09
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a Danish scheme providing export loans to Danish exporters and /or their clients who experience difficulties in accessing funding in the current financial crisis. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with its Communication on Reference Rates (see IP/07/1912 ), in particular because it provides funding on market terms and therefore does not constitute state aid in the meaning of Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
50% of European teenagers give out personal information on the web – according to an EU study – which can remain online forever and can be seen by anybody. Today, Safer Internet Day, the European Commission is passing a message to teenagers: "Think before you post!" It welcomed actions to protect children using social networking websites taken by the 20 companies who signed the Safer Social Networking Principles last year (IP/09/232 ). Most of these companies have empowered minors to tackle online risks by making it easier to change privacy settings, block users or delete unwanted comments and content. Yet more needs to be done to protect children online, the Commission says. Less than half of social networking companies (40%) make profiles of under-18 users visible only to their friends by default and only one third replied to user reports asking for help.
State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Polish support scheme for financial institutions
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, a prolongation until 30 June 2010 of a Polish support scheme for financial institutions. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 25 September 2009 (see IP/09/1360 ) to be in line with its Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis. In particular, the extended measures are limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that they represent an appropriate means of remedying a serious disturbance in the Polish economy and as such are compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Commission clears acquisition of Tower Productions by All3Media Germany and BBC Worldwide
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of the newly created company Tower Productions GmbH of Germany by BBC Worldwide Limited, controlled by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of the UK and All3Media Deutschland GmbH of Germany. BBC Worldwide licenses pre-produced TV content to broadcasters worldwide. All3Media develops and produces TV programmes for German broadcasters. Tower Productions will develop, produce and adapt programmes based among others on BBC Worldwide television formats for the German-speaking public. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
Commission clears acquisition of Dexia Epargne Pension by BNP Paribas
The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Dexia Épargne Pension SA (DEP) of France, including its affiliate Office Français de Prévoyance Funéraire (OFPF) also of France by BNP Paribas Assurance (BNPP Assurance) controlled by BNP Paribas (BNPP), both of France. BNPP is a global banking, financial and insurance group. BNPP Assurance manages the life and non-life insurance branch of BNPP and is active in 41 countries. DEP is active in life insurance in France. OFPF provides funeral services assistance in France. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
The European Commission today concluded that Romania had taken effective action to correct its budget deficit. But in view of a sharper-than-expected recession in 2009, the Commission proposes to extend the deadline by one year to 2012 to bring the deficit below 3% of GDP.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the Commission, made today the following statement: “I welcome the completion of the second round of voting in the Ukrainian presidential elections and the positive assessment given to the process by the OSCE/ODIHR-led International Election Observation Mission. The generally calm atmosphere in which the elections were conducted, the open campaign in the media and the fact that the electorate were provided with a genuine choice represent important achievements in Ukraine’s democratic development. I should in particular like to congratulate the people of Ukraine for the high turn out in both rounds of the elections and the strong commitment demonstrated to the democratic process. The European Union remains committed to deepening the relationship with Ukraine and supporting it in implementing its reform agenda. It looks forward to working with the new President to this end.”
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